Latvia’s president speaks of disinformation, Afghan women’s rights and migrant crisis

Covid-19 proved just how much our society is unprotected from disinformation, said Latvia’s President Egils Levits in his speech at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.
Levits stresses that Latvia’s response to attempts to spread disinformation consists of efforts to reinforce people’s awareness of disinformation as a concept, support independent and diverse mass media, involve the involvement of civil society in efforts to raise awareness about disinformation and teach media literacy.
The president also stressed that the fight against the spread of disinformation and other manipulative information makes it hard to guarantee high freedom of speech and personal information protection standards.
«At the global level, combating disinformation effectively requires even closer understanding and cooperation in international organizations. Latvia was one of the initiators of the UN General Assembly resolution on the promotion of media and information literacy at the global level adopted this year. We will continue to provide support to partners with our expertise in combating disinformation,» said Levits in his speech.
He also said Latvia is prepared to continue assisting partners with advice on combating disinformation. On top of that, the president believes the UN should take a more active role in this topic.
In regards to the UN’s adopted sustainable development goals, Levits stressed that it is Latvia’s commitment to working in the name of peace, rule of law and good management.
He stressed that without good management there is no way to implement principles of human rights, democracy and rule of law. This is why Latvia intends to focus on state administration, rule of law, gender equality and environmental protection principles in its development programme.
Latvia’s president also said the UN should put in strategic efforts into enhancing human rights. He said lately there have been cases when protection of human rights and basic freedoms went down. This includes Myanmar, Tigray and Afghanistan, which is the latest on the list of such tragedies.
«Taking into account the latest developments, we are especially concerned about the security of Afghan women and girls.»
«The rights of women and girls will be high on our agenda as Latvia serves as the Vice-Chair on the Bureau of the UN Commission on the Status of Women for the next two sessions,» said Latvia’s president.
Additionally, the president said, in regards to Belarus, that Latvia strongly condemns the violence committed by Aleksandr Lukashenko’s regime against the civil society, independent mass media and journalists in Belarus.
Levits stresses that by using and putting at risk citizens of other countries, Belarus causes a migrant crisis along its borders with Lithuania, Latvia and Poland in an attempt to destabilize Europe.
«We have a duty and a right to protect our national border! At the same time, Latvia, in cooperation with its NGOs, provides humanitarian assistance to people who have become hostages of the Lukashenko regime. The crisis in Belarus can only be resolved by new, free and fair presidential elections in the presence of international observers,» said Levits.
In his speech, the president also touched on the topic of Russia’s intimidation campaign against Ukraine. This, according to Latvia’s president, indicates to international community that it is still necessary to support the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The heated conflicts in Moldova’s Transnistria region, Abkhazia and South Ossetia should be resolved using available international mechanisms and in full compliance with principles of territorial integrity of Moldova and Georgia, he said.
According to Latvia’s president, Latvia has proven it can help find solutions to global security threats. This is why Latvia wants to secure the status of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the term 2026–2027. He stressed that in order to overcome modern obstacles, the UN and the UN Security Council should demonstrate the desire to change and implement long-awaited reforms.